Otis Mack
Otis Mack campaign leader

CAMRA REPORT - 2011

Did you know that around 1,300 pubs closed across Britain last year, with the loss of 13,000 jobs according to industry body the British Beer and Pub Association?
Did you know that Britain's beer drinkers are forced to endure the second highest rate of beer tax in Europe which is pretty ironic when you consider that the Prime Minister had promised a "pub friendly Government" with the pub at the heart of the Big Society?
In the year that CAMRA celebrates our 40th birthday, the rate of pub closures around the UK continues to be a massive problem and we have very serious concerns about what the pub landscape could look like in 40 years if we don't act now. We all know that well-run community pubs are an important part of British life and that our lives would not be the same without pubs which so often act as an important focus for the community.

More bad news for pubs

What's more the recent Budget has dealt yet another devastating blow to the pub industry. The Chancellor, whilst claiming that there would be "no additional rise in alcohol duty", failed to abolish the beer duty escalator brought in by the Labour Government which means that there will actually be a 7.2% increase in duty on top of the recent rise in VAT.

This 7.2% rise is well above the rate of inflation and takes the average duty and VAT on a pub pint to over £1 for the first time. The likely effect of this is an increase in the price of a pint of beer in the pub by as much as 10 pence, which will continue to drive many consumers away from pubs and encourage them to drink at home or on the streets and more pubs will close as a result.

Threats
Lack of investment in local community pubs continues to threaten their survival and, shockingly, pubs are closing at a rate of 25 a week
Existing planning law gives little protection to communities who want to keep their local pubs open. In England and Wales, planning permission is not currently required to change a pub into a restaurant, shop, café or financial services office. Across the UK planning permission is not required to demolish a freestanding pub unless it is listed.
The price of a pint of ale is being forced up because big pub firms often fail to pass on discounts to their tied licensees. Tied licensees can only buy a limited range of beer, at prices which are inflated by around 40%. This results in a reduction of consumer amenities in pubs and an increasing rate of pub closures.
Since 2008 beer duty has risen by an eye-watering 35%, piling on the misery for Britain's hard-pressed pubs. This rise means that the cost of VAT and duty account for a third of every pint bought.
CAMRA works every day to protect and promote our community pubs and to lobby on a national and local level. Without the work that CAMRA has undertaken since we began 40 years ago, many pubs would not be here today. We believe that every effort should be made to keep pubs open as once a pub is closed down, it is usually lost forever and is demolished or converted to another use.
CAMRA has campaigned tirelessly to support pubs and breweries for the last forty years and in order for us to continue this work for the next forty years and to save more pubs from closure, we need your help now. CAMRA is widely credited with saving real ale from extinction, and given the high number of breweries functioning at the moment, real ale seems in a strong position. However real ale needs pubs in order to survive and flourish.
Our recent work has led to the appointment of a Community Pubs Minister in the new coalition Government and we are working to ensure that Government policy frameworks are put into place to recognise the vital role that pubs play in community life. Our recent supercomplaint against anti-competitive practices in the UK pub market has led to CAMRA securing a commitment from the Government to deal with the pub companies if they did not introduce clear codes of practice by June this year.

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